By Matt Wakeford, manager of Bar G&V
Cocktail culture in the UK is more popular than ever – especially with TV shows like Mad Men putting the glamour back into old fashioned drinking.
When it comes to hosting your own cocktail party at home, the most important aspect is good quality alcohol. Edinburgh boasts an array of brilliant independent spirit outlets, such as The Bon Vivant’s Companion and Cork & Cask, providing high quality unique spirits, which are ideal for your special soirée.
Here’s what you need to pull off the perfect evening:
Alcohol: Your cocktails will only ever be as good as the worst ingredient you put in them. Don’t try to save money by picking up the supermarket’s own brand spirits, or you’ll regret it later.
Ice: …and lots of it! Ice is essential for creating a range of different cocktails, including the good old favourite mojito.
Nibbles: The alcohol content found in cocktails can be deceiving, and it’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach.
Olives: Buy nice big olives for the table for people to snack on, and a few more smaller ones for the Martinis.
Music: A good soundtrack is essential. I’d go for some Ella or Billie on vinyl if you have it.
Glassware: Cocktails also taste better when sipped out of a beautiful glass. You can usually rent these from good spirit shops.
Cocktail Equipment: You don’t need to be stocked with the newest equipment - you can pick up a decent drinks shaker and mixing glass fairly cheaply.
The next big question is: what cocktails should you make? I’d recommend offering your guests a couple of simple but crowd-pleasing ones. My two favourite cocktails are the Vesper Martini and the Margarita – here are the recipes:
- 40ml Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
- 20ml Ketel One Vodka
- 10ml Lillet Blanc
- Stir and single strain into a chilled Martini glass and add a lemon twist to garnish
- 40ml Don Julio Blanco Tequila
- 20ml Grand Marnier
- 20ml freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1-2 tsp white sugar
- Shake and double strain the ingredients into an already chilled coupe glass, or pour freely over ice into a rocks glass.
- Don’t forget to finish off by adding a little salt around the rim of the glass for a traditional margarita.
Although cocktails are easy to make at home, the real enjoyment comes when you dress up, head out into the city and let the experts in the bars do the work.
Bar G&V at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel is the perfect place to enjoy some of Edinburgh’s best cocktails in a high-class environment. Bespoke cocktails are our speciality, but if you feel you need some inspiration, try one of our cocktail masterclasses to perfect your own skills. We’ll teach you all the basic techniques before you shake up martinis for your own friends.